2014 DRAFT GUIDE
Texans, with Watt and Clowney, await Falcons

By CHRIS DUNCAN - AP Sports Writer
    2014-08-15 16:19

HOUSTON (AP) - J.J. Watt feels as if he gets asked about playing with Jadeveon Clowney every day.

When the Texans selected Clowney with the top overall pick, they instantly created what on paper looks like one of the league's most formidable pass rushes. Watt is one of the game's most disruptive forces and Clowney was similarly dominant at South Carolina. Clowney is moving to outside linebacker in Romeo Crennel's 3-4 defensive scheme.

The two showed a glimpse of what they could do on the second play from scrimmage in last week's 32-0 loss in Arizona, with both charging in from the right side and Watt sacking Carson Palmer. Watt downplayed how much to read into the play. The Texans weren't doing anything complicated, and Watt wasn't even paying attention to where Clowney lined up.

''Everyone makes a real big deal out of it,'' Watt said, ''but I didn't notice that he was outside of me, so it's just one of those things. You're playing football and some people make a bigger deal on a lot of things than it really is out there.''

Watt played only one series against the Cardinals. With Watt out, Clowney shed a tight end and tackled Stepfan Taylor behind the line. Other than that, the Texans didn't show much against the Cardinals.

Starting quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick played the entire first half and completed only six passes with two interceptions. The Cardinals' offense, meanwhile, had their way with Houston's defense, compiling 407 yards and going 11 for 17 on third downs.

O'Brien started the week with a morning film session before Monday's practice, and he saw marked improvement in joint practices with Atlanta this week. The Texans and Falcons play on Saturday night.

Help could be on the way for the Texans on Saturday. Running back Arian Foster, receiver Andre Johnson and linebacker Brian Cushing returned to practice on Wednesday after long layoffs, although O'Brien wouldn't promise that any of the three would play against the Falcons.

Watt and Clowney surely will play after giving valuable looks to Atlanta's reshaped offensive line in the combined practices. Protecting the passer was a major issue for the Falcons last year, and they drafted tackle Jake Matthews and signed guard Jon Asamoah to shore up a front that allowed 44 sacks of Matt Ryan in 2013.

''In this league, you want to keep your quarterback standing up and that was one of our No. 1 goals going into this offseason was to improve our pass protection,'' Atlanta coach Mike Smith said. ''Working against a good defensive line definitely helps us prepare for the regular season.''

The Falcons and Texans started last season with Super Bowl aspirations and finished as two of the league's biggest disappointments.

Atlanta showed more promise in its preseason opener, beating Miami 16-10. Ryan and the first-team offense scored a touchdown on their only series, going 77 yards on 15 plays, and the defense held Miami to 109 yards and five first downs.

Ryan had one of his most productive seasons in 2013 despite the problems around him, completing 67 percent of his throws and a career-high 439 passes.

''The won-loss record wasn't what you would want it to be, but I thought Matt had a really good season, showed a lot of resiliency,'' Smith said. ''I think it helped him grow as a player and as a person. He's become more vocal and we need for him to be a vocal leader and this is Matt Ryan's football team.''

Smith was noncommittal when asked if receiver Julio Jones would play in Houston. Jones is recovering from surgery on his right foot. He practiced Wednesday but not Thursday.

---

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-NFL

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Miles AustinMar 30 11:42a

Free-agent WR Miles Austin (Browns) will likely sign with the Philadelphia Eagles this week if all goes well with his physical, according to a source.

R. Griffin IIIMar 29 07:42p

Washington Redskins QB Robert Griffin III will be the first-team quarterback during offseason workouts, according to head Jay Gruden, but Gruden also said he expects QB Kirk Cousins and [ More ]

Stevan RidleyMar 29 10:12a

Free-agent RB Stevan Ridley (knee) is scheduled to meet with a few teams this week. Ridley is expected to receive full medical clearance in around six weeks.

Andre EllingtonMar 27 07:52p

Arizona Cardinals RB Andre Ellington, who averaged 20.6 touches per game in 2014 before being injured, won't have his role reduced in 2015, according to head coach Bruce Arians. [ More ]

C.J. AndersonMar 27 07:32p

Denver Broncos RB C.J. Anderson, who finished 2014 with 648 rushing yards in the last six games, will enter the 2015 season at the top of the running back [ More ]

Jonathan MartinMar 27 04:32p

San Francisco 49ers OT Jonathan Martin was claimed off waivers by the Carolina Panthers Friday, March 27.

Alan BallMar 27 03:02p

Free-agent CB Alan Ball (Jaguars) signed a one-year deal with the Chicago Bears Friday, March 27. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Jarrett BoykinMar 27 02:12p

Free-agent WR Jarrett Boykin (Packers) signed a one-year deal with the Carolina Panthers Friday, March 27. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Nick FolesMar 27 01:22p

St. Louis Rams head coach Jeff Fisher said it's the team's intention to draft a quarterback in this year's draft, despite trading for QB Nick Foles in the offseason. [ More ]

Dont'a HightowerMar 26 08:02p

New England Patriots LB Dont'a Hightower (shoulder) will miss six to seven months after undergoing surgery on a torn right labrum. Hightower's availability for the beginning of the regular [ More ]

Brian QuickMar 26 06:52p

St. Louis Rams WR Brian Quick (shoulder) is making progress in recovering from a torn rotator cuff and separated shoulder he suffered last October. Head coach Jeff Fisher has [ More ]

Jay CutlerMar 26 06:32p

Chicago Bears QB Jay Cutler will head into the offseason as the team's No. 1 quarterback on the depth chart, but head coach John Fox said there will be [ More ]

Danny LansanahMar 26 05:42p

Tampa Bay Buccaneers LB Danny Lansanah signed his one-year tender Thursday, March 26.

Jonathan MartinMar 26 04:52p

San Francisco 49ers OT Jonathan Martin was waived Thursday, March 26.

Pat SimsMar 26 04:22p

Free-agent DT Pat Sims (Raiders) signed an undisclosed deal with the Cincinnati Bengals Thursday, March 26.

Victor CruzMar 26 01:32p

New York Giants WR Victor Cruz (knee) 'looks really good and light,' according to head coach Tom Coughlin. Cruz started running last week six months after he tore the [ More ]

D. Heyward-BeyMar 26 11:52a

Free-agent WR Darrius Heyward-Bey (Steelers) re-signed with the Pittsburgh Steelers Wednesday, March 26. Heyward-Bey signed a one-year deal with the team, but financial terms were not disclosed.

Paul RichardsonMar 26 12:43a

Seattle Seahawks WR Paul Richardson (knee) might not be ready for the start of the season, head coach Pete Carroll indicated Wednesday, March 25. Carroll did say Richardson's rehab [ More ]

Blake BortlesMar 25 08:43p

Jacksonville Jaguars QB Blake Bortles received an endorsement from head coach Gus Bradley Tuesday, March 24. Speaking at the AFC Coaches Breakfast at the NFL Annual Meetings Tuesday, Bradley [ More ]

Travis KelceMar 25 06:03p

Kansas City Chiefs TE Travis Kelce played at roughly 250 pounds in 2014, but head coach Andy Reid wants Kelce to report bigger in 2015, and Reid thinks Kelce [ More ]

Drew BreesMar 25 05:03p

Oregon QB Marcus Mariota isn't an option for the New Orleans Saints in the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft, according to head coach Sean Payton. Payton said [ More ]

Adrian PetersonMar 25 04:33p

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson is wanted back in Minnesota, but the question is if Peterson wants to come back. Head coach Mike Zimmer said he doesn't believe Peterson [ More ]

Ifeanyi MomahMar 25 03:13p

Free-agent TE Ifeanyi Momah (Lions) signed a one-year contract with the Arizona Cardinals Wednesday, March 25. Financial terms were undisclosed.

Terence NewmanMar 25 01:53p

Free-agent CB Terence Newman (Bengals) agreed to a one-year deal with the Minnesota Vikings Wednesday, March 25, according to a source. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Jordy NelsonMar 25 12:23p

Green Bay Packers WR Jordy Nelson (hip) underwent hip surgery this offseason and is expected to be sidelined for six to eight weeks.

Victor CruzMar 25 11:53a

New York Giants WR Victor Cruz (knee) could miss the start of the 2015 season with a torn patellar tendon in his knee, according to head coach Tom Coughlin. [ More ]

Josh HillMar 25 11:03a

New Orleans Saints TE Josh Hill is expected to have a bigger role in the offense in 2015. Head coach Sean Payton has mentioned him quite a bit since [ More ]

Adrian PetersonMar 25 10:53a

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson is disgruntled and reportedly wants out of Minnesota, but head coach Mike Zimmer said the team has no plans to trade him.

Cody LatimerMar 24 09:33p

The Denver Broncos plan to use WR Cody Latimer as the third receiver behind WRs Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders in 2015. 'I think it's time for him to [ More ]

Casey MatthewsMar 24 06:32p

Free-agent LB Casey Matthews (Eagles) agreed to terms with the Minnesota Vikings Tuesday, March 24. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

R. Griffin IIIMar 24 04:42p

Washington Redskins general manager Scot McCloughan said that the team will go with the best player available in the 2015 NFL Draft with the No. 5 overall pick, which [ More ]

Michael CrabtreeMar 24 03:02p

Free-agent WR Michael Crabtree (49ers) is having a hard time being signed this offseason, reportedly due to concerns regarding lower-leg injuries and a negative perception about his attitude.

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2015 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group